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Hull: Andrew Daniel Mackenzie Hull

September is designated as the National Suicide Awareness Month. Even more specific, Sept. 10 is observed as the World Suicide Prevention Day. As promised in my previous articles, I am going to speak on suicide today and in my next few writings.

September is designated as the National Suicide Awareness Month. Even more specific, Sept. 10 is observed as the World Suicide Prevention Day. As promised in my previous articles, I am going to speak on suicide today and in my next few writings.
My goal is to shed some light on this tragic subject in hopes of raising awareness and prevention. Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience with this dark subject due to the unfathomable loss of my beautiful 16-year-old son, Andrew Hull, by suicide. First, let’s go back to the wonderful beginning of this amazing child.
Andrew Daniel Mackenzie Hull was born on April 10, 1996, in a hospital room filled with people - his two brothers, one sister, his dad, my mom and my best friend! Oh, and of course the doctor and nurse were there as well. When the doctor first walked through the door to the delivery room, his first response was … “Holy smoke I guess we should have ordered bleachers for all of this baby’s fans.” Little did he know that this tiny little person would indeed be surrounded by the many cheering family and friends all of his life.
The anticipated arrival of a new baby was met with a great deal of apprehension. You see his siblings were quite a bit older and weren’t sure about who this person was that was about to disrupt their already established birth order. Michael, who was 16, always in charge and the oldest, had entitled himself as the “golden” child. Beth, 14 and totally excited about the whole process of pregnancy and birth, was such a comfort to me as she walked the halls by my side as my labor progressed. She was deemed the “silver,” or middle child. And last but not least was Josh, who used to be the baby. He was given the prestigious award of “quintessential freshman” for all four years of high school and was about to be dethroned from his position as the “bronze” child.
As with any new baby, the name tells the story. Are we going to name our child after a beloved grandparent or ancestor? Is he or she named after their mom or dad? How about something traditional like John, Mary, Bill or Jane? I know! Let’s name our baby after some exotic fruit or color, like Kiwi, Mango or Fuchsia? I kind of like Mango! Well, all of those are great prospects, but everybody in my family had a different name picked out for this new arrival. So what to do? We managed to agree on three names, thus was born Andrew Daniel Mackenzie Hull. Allowing the three “royalty” children to name their successor eased some of the tension in their soon-to-be title reorganization.
What a blessing Andrew was to our family. Now that doesn’t mean that there weren’t challenges and lots of adjustments, but he truly completed our circle. Funny how just when life seems to be going along in a smooth fashion, bumps and turns can present themselves. Those “opportunities” gave us a chance to see more scenery that was just around the bend and forced us to slow down just a bit so as not to miss anything. I cannot even imagine what life would have been like without Andrew. But just like the song by Garth Brooks, “The Dance”, I was glad that we couldn’t see what lay ahead.

“Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared ‘neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye?
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance”

Would we have traded our time with Andrew for the lack of the most excruciating pain that a person can experience? Absolutely, without hesitancy, NO!
I was just reading this morning in my Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
I cling to this every day, as it is the only thing that makes any kind of sense to me. Maybe I can make a difference in the lives of others by allowing the healing salve of God’s love to wash over me. I am not so shallow as to think that I am the first, last or only parent to lose a child. That being said, life is still very precarious for all of our family and many of Andrew’s friends.
The foundation that we lay in our lives is the key to our ability to help ourselves and others. When a crisis arrives, it is not possible to pour that slab of concrete when you need it as it needs time to cure and be smoothed. If you walk on it before it is dry, you will ruin the integrity of the bond. Had I relied upon anything other than a well-cured and well-smoothed foundation, I would not have survived this gaping hole in my heart. The tears that poured from my face would have eroded anything else. The pounding of my fists would have threatened anything less solid than the rock that I stood on. Did we scream, yell and fall to the ground? Yes, a thousand times.
I believe that it is important for us to experience disappointments and sadness as we journey through life, as these are the building blocks of our foundation. They help us to develop coping skills and the ability to have compassion for others. Some of us are obviously more prepared as our lives have brought what seem to be more turbulent waters than others.
I can tell you that for myself, I have felt like my life has always been difficult. Some people actually have called me Mrs. Job. (Just to clarify, that is Job from the Bible and not Steve Jobs from the computer.) I’m just kidding, of course, but there have been times when I feel like I am being pushed to the limit. Actually, most of us can probably identify with that sensation.
Leaving you on a more positive note would probably be appreciated. Writing about Andrew and how he impacted our lives and the lives of countless others, brings me joy and helps to console my aching heart. I will elaborate more on the life and times of Andy, as he later became known, in my next article. In addition, I hope to offer more of the strength that I seem to possess to you through the inspiration that falls on me like the sunshine that Andrew brought to our life. Until then, cherish every second that you have with the loved ones around you.

Hull is a wife, mother and motivational speaker and writer who, like many others, recently moved to Dickinson because of the energy industry. She writes a recurring column for Our Town and blogs at bloomwhereyouareplanted.areavoices.com.
Email her at leannhull@hotmail.com .

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